U.S. intelligence and British authorities will almost certainly look for an al-Qaeda connection as they sort through the devastating bomb after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in part because the attack came exactly a week after Osama bin Laden’s son made a tape recorded threat against the West.
Hamza bin Laden, who was listed by the United States in January as a designated terrorist, has been part of a new propaganda effort by al-Qaeda to appeal to younger jihadists who have been attracted to ISIS’s slick social media recruitment campaigns.
A U.S. official said Monday night it was too early to assign responsibility to the blast, which British authorities are investigating as a "terrorist incident." But he noted the bin Laden tape message occurred just a week before this attack.
"We are monitoring very closely what's happening in Manchester and coordinating with our British counterparts as the situation is unfolding," the official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity.
The younger bin Laden was captured on a tape made public last Monday, a 10-minute audio message in which he called on followers to attack Jews, Americans, Westerners and even Russians. In earlier taped recorded messages he also called for attacks on Brits.
“If you are able to pick up a firearm, well and good. If not, the options are many,” the younger bin Laden was quoted on the tape as saying.